The Runnin' Bulldogs (31-27) advance to play the loser of No. 1 Coastal Carolina / No. 5 Radford on Thursday at 3:00 pm.
Wednesday's tournament schedule was pushed back considerably due to lightning delays from Tuesday's Campbell/High Point matchup. Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern didn't get underway until 12:15 pm, nearly three hours later than originally scheduled.
The Buccaneers (21-37) took advantage of a Gardner-Webb fielding error to strike for early offense in the top of the second, getting an RBI single from Walt Quattlebaum to drive home Robbie Streett - who reached via the error to lead off the inning.
Gardner-Webb had its best opportunity to score early in the bottom of the second, getting singles from Ryan Hodge and Scott Johnson - and a double steal to put both in scoring position with one out. Charleston Southern starter Charlie McCready, who had been battered by the Runnin' Bulldogs in a regular season meeting, recovered with back-to-back strikeouts to end that threat with a 1-0 lead intact.
Both teams were quiet at the plate until the top of the fifth, when back-to-back big hits with two outs pushed the Buccaneers' lead to 2-0. Bobby Ison roped a double to the warning track to give CSU life, and Jaren Sustar followed by dropping in a triple just inside the line in right for a key RBI.
McCready, meanwhile, retired 14 of the 15 batters he faced after allowing Gardner-Webb's pair of singles in the second.
Gardner-Webb took full advantage of its seventh-inning stretch, however, coming alive to score four runs in the bottom half of the inning to surge in front for good.
Brad Collins doubled off the wall in dead center to lead off the seventh and Johnson reached on an error to put runners at the corners.
Benji Jackson then hammered a two-run double to left center to tie the game, and came around to score on an Adam Tiller single to give Gardner-Webb its first lead of the game. That knock chased McCready from the game, and reliever Zach Hagaman ran into control problems with two outs.
Hagaman issued three straight walks, the final to Dusty Quattlebaum on five pitches to drive in Tiller for a 4-2 lead. The Bucs called the bullpen again, and righty Denis Buckley was able to work out of the inning without further damage.
Gardner-Webb reliever Mitch Warner used a big double play to get through the top of the eighth, but Charleston Southern made a run at the lead in the ninth - as Quattlebaum drilled a one-out, solo home run over the wall in left center to trim the lead to 4-3.
The Runnin' Bulldogs went to righty Jeff Howell to close out the game, and the Kings Mountain, N.C., native came through with a pair of strikeouts for his first save of the season.
Warner (7-2) picked up the win, allowing just one run on three hits with five strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief work. Matt Fraudin was solid in a no decision start, hurling 5.0 innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits (four strikeouts).
Gardner-Webb had seven hits in the game, with Johnson (2-for-4, run) leading the way. Tiller (1-for-2, RBI), Scott Coleman (1-for-3), Collins (1-for-4, 2B, run), Hodge (1-for-4) and Jackson (1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) also collected hits in the game.
McCready (4-6) took the loss, allowing two earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings (five strikeouts).
The Bucs had eight hits, with Sustar (2-for-4, 3B, RBI) and Quattlebaum (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) leading that charge.
GARDNER-WEBB HEAD COACH RUSTY STROUPE QUOTES
"We didn't play a great game today, but we had a big inning when we needed it. Charleston Southern played well considering their tough loss yesterday [to top-seed Coastal Carolina]. Coach Lake has a great program."